A failed bid to become a registered charity has ended a popular community fundraising group in Newton Aycliffe.
Community Spirit Newton Aycliffe – launched by local businessman and philanthropist Nev Jones – has decided to call it a day.
Nev told Aycliffe Today the decision was made by the board members after the Charity Commission rejected his bid for the group to be officially recognised as a charity.
Non-registered charitable organisations are only permitted to raise £5,000 over a 12-month period.
Nev told us: “We raised more than £5,000 in one month of our Christmas fundraising alone, so it made it difficult for us to carry on as we were.
“Covid has also made it impossible for us to organise events and the board members all have their own commitments, so it was a collective decision to end the group.”
But Nev – who has helped to raise around £20,000 for local causes over the years, latterly as part of Community Spirit – says he will continue with his own local fundraising and good deeds.
“I’ll still be doing my bit and I’m looking to create a new group just to raise funds for the Christmas period,” he added.
A statement on Community Spirit Newton Aycliffe’s Facebook page read: “What an amazing 18 months we have had!
“What originally started out as a ‘save Santa’ campaign led to a group of people forming Community Spirit Newton Aycliffe.
“We had a united goal and mission statement , supporting local families, helping those in need, promoting local businesses and bringing our community together. I think we can safely say we achieved our goal.
“We raised our funds by having regular family disco’s and seasonal craft fayres, all were very well attended and so much fun.
“The funds raised allowed us to help the community in so many ways. We donated food parcels to those in need, allowed people living on their own to enjoy a Christmas dinner, assisted some members of the community who had been the target of theft.
“We were able to work with social services supplying families with white goods, furniture, pushchairs, and anything else they requested.
“We have helped struggling families carpet their homes, put smiles on children’s faces with toys and tricycles. We have helped the young and old alike with health issues that required financial help.
“All of these things we would not have achieved if it wasn’t for the hard work of all community spirit members who give up their free time to help.”
The statement went on: “So the time has come for us to say farewell to Community Spirit Newton Aycliffe.
“We were hoping to say hello to Christmas Spirit as we still continued our work in December as Mr and Mrs Claus, but at this moment in time this looks uncertain.
“We would like to wish all Aycliffe charities good luck as they continue to work hard to support the people of Newton Aycliffe during this difficult time.
“The remainder of our funds will be given to St Claire’s food bank at Christmas time to help those families in need.
“We would like to finish on a final thank you to everyone, who embraced our charitable organisation with the kindness and good will that was intended.”